North Dakota Stockmen’s Association annual convention Sept. 26-28

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Farm Forum

Through policies, advocacy and a long-standing commitment to North Dakota ranchers, the volunteer leaders, members and staff of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) have worked to stand up and speak out for North Dakota ranchers for 84 years. The NDSA will host its 84th Annual NDSA Convention & Trade Show, ” Stand Up, Speak Out,” on Sept. 26-28 at the Ramada Bismarck Hotel (formally the Doublewood) in Bismarck, N.D.

“Our mission is ‘to unite, protect, promote, educate and serve the cattle industry in North Dakota,” said NDSA President Jason Zahn of Towner, N.D. “If that means standing up to our opponents and for what we believe in, that’s what we do.”

Zahn invites beef producers to attend the entire convention to take in the excellent line-up of speakers, to network with fellow ranchers and to develop policies that will help the state’s cattle industry move forward.

Highlights are sure to include the following:

Thursday, Sept. 26

The three-day event begins with a golf scramble at 9 a.m. at Tom O’Leary Golf Course. To pre-register for golf, contact Golf Scramble Chairman Jonathan Marohl at (701) 202-6905.

A Cattlemen’s College will follow at the Ramada and will feature two speakers. Dave Pratt, “Ranching for Profit” instructor, helps people transform their farms and ranches into sustainable businesses. His workshop-style presentation will give participants tools they can use to increase profit, improve their land and improve their relationships. Dr. Gary Sides will also talk about defending the beef industry in a Facebook world. Sides will inspire attendees to stand up and speak out for the beef industry.

Day One will conclude with a Welcome Social in the Trade Show, followed by supper.

Friday, Sept. 27

The NDSA’s opening session features welcome messages from Zahn and North Dakota CattleWomen (NDCW) President Sharon Kickertz-Gerbig of Amidon, N.D., and association and brand inspection reports.

The NDSA Trade Show will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

During the opening session, members will hear from fellow members who are vying for a seat on the NDSA Board of Directors. NDSA members will elect two officers and six directors at the closing business session on Saturday, Sept. 29. Candidates include the following: for president, Zahn; for vice president, Steve Brooks of Bowman, N.D.; for District 1 director, Jeff Schafer of New Rockford, N.D.; for District 2 director, Brian Amundson of Jamestown, N.D., and Jeffery Breker of Havana, N.D.; for District 3 director, Doug Bichler of Linton, N.D.; for District 4 director, Jamie Hauge of Carson, N.D., and Keith Kessler of Glen Ullin, N.D.; for District 5 director, Paige Burian of Manning, N.D., and Wayne Gerbig of Amidon, N.D.; and, for District 6 director, Mark Giedd of Washburn, N.D., and Dennis Jacobson of Wildrose, N.D.

After a networking break in the Trade Show, there will be a panel discussion on the future of the beef industry, moderated by Myron Edelman of the Red Angus Association of America. Brad Brandenburg of Tyson Fresh Meats, John Butler of the Beef Marketing Group and Mark Messer of Messer Beaver Creek Ranch will discuss the challenges their industry segments face and how attendees can position themselves for a prosperous future.

That afternoon, NDSA members will offer policy recommendations in five committee meetings, including the Ag Policy & Environmental Issues Committee meeting, Animal Health Committee meeting, Brand & Theft Committee meeting, Feeding & Marketing Committee meeting and Research & Education Committee meeting.

NDSA members will come back together in the evening to enjoy a social, supper, NDSA product auction, North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation Rifle Raffle and hypnotist Scott McFall’s entertainment.

Saturday, Sept. 28

Day Three will be filled with thought-provoking discussion. Dr. Kim Stackhouse-Lawson is first on the morning agenda. She will discuss the largest sustainability assessment ever conducted in agriculture, which will provide a holistic sustainability evaluation of beef from gate to plate. Next, James Robb will offer a cattle market forecast to help producers plan ahead and make critical marketing decisions. Lastly, Advocates for Agriculture, Troy and Stacy Hadrick, will help attendees hone skills to effectively tell their stores and become credible sources of information for consumers asking questions about where their food comes from and how it is raised.

The NDSA will celebrate its youth during the Foundation Luncheon at noon. Scholarships winners and the Mentoring Program class will be recognized. A special tribute to the National Beef Backer and Beef Quality Assurance Marketer of the Year will also be held.

At the closing session, members will vote on resolutions considered in committee meetings the day before and elect directors and officers. The results of the 2013 NDSA Membership Contest will also be unveiled. This year’s top recruitment prize is a one-year lease or a 250-hour use of a New Holland T6 Series, 165 horsepower, front-wheel-assist tractor with an 845 TL loader and grapple from Titan Machinery and the Northern Region New Holland Dealers.

The 84th Annual Convention & Trade Show will conclude on Saturday evening with a banquet social beginning at 6 p.m., followed by the annual banquet at 7 p.m., where the association will bestow its highest honor, the Top Hand Award, on Jack Reich in a posthumous induction. The NDSA will also recognize Paul Smokov of Steele, N.D., as the 2013 Rancher of the Year; David Dockter of Mandan, N.D., and Robert Folske of Bowman, N.D., as Honorary Members; and several employees, including Glen Clark of Williston, N.D., a 20-year employee; Beci Lambrecht of Lisbon, N.D., a five-year employee; Stan Misek of Bismarck, N.D., a 30-year employee; Shawn Ratts of Montpelier, N.D., a five-year employee; and Allen Roshau of Dickinson, N.D., a 10-year employee. The association will likewise honor Edward Dietz of Beach, N.D., as an Honorary Brand Inspector. The winner of the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award Program will also be announced during the banquet.

Entertainment will be provided by vocal chamber ensemble InspirarŽ. New York City Fire Chief Richard Picciotto will tell the story of a true American hero at the banquet. Picciotto will deliver his firsthand account of the World Trade Center collapse on 9-11.

“We are excited to host the 84th Annual Convention & Trade Show, ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’, and invite cattle producers to attend to listen to the speakers, join the NDSA and help shape the direction of this industry,” Zahn said. Registration forms are available at http://www.ndstockmen.org or onsite at the convention.